Whew, it’s been a busy month over here in the U.K. for us and came to a culminative end with a trip to the Scottish Highlands last week. Our friends that are more like family, Jon and Christine and their sweet baby girl, Rosalyn, came to visit. This is their second year in a row coming over around this time of year. Their last visit we stayed in and around Newcastle, visiting castles, the beach towns, and small villages. It was wonderful, but this time we wanted to try something new and decided on the Highlands.
We set off midday last Tuesday in the rain and fog to head up the coast towards St. Andrews. Jon is an avid golfer and has always dreamed of visiting the famed St. Andrews course, so we made it just as the sun was setting. While Christine, Rozzie, and I got some fun pictures by the water, Jon wandered around the area and Matt played Pokemon Go (he’s obsessed). That evening, we stayed at a nice hotel (though the beds were some of the hardest I’ve ever slept on) in the nearby city of Dundee and after learning all the nice restaurants were booked, tried our luck with Scottish Mexican food (it was interesting but good!). We all loved the city of Dundee. It was very quiet and easy to walk around. The views of the water and outlying hills were beautiful, and it’s definitely a spot we’d love to visit again.
On Wednesday afternoon, after picking up Jon from the local golf course, we began the journey toward Inverness. We all had our own objectives on this trip.
Jon’s was to golf.
Matt had the dream of seeing Nessie the Loch Ness monster.
I wanted Highland pictures.
But the best part of the trip was that Christine and Jon decided to announce their pregnancy while there. I took their announcement, maternity, and birth photos of Rosalyn, so it felt fitting and so special to be able to take their announcement photos for their baby boy.
After driving for a few hours, we entered the Cairngorms National Park. It’s such a gorgeous park with lots of quintessential Highlands views. We really just hugged the outer left side edge of the park, but still found some great places. After deciding to get off the highway and go down some of the smaller roads, we found the perfect spot for these photos. A large field with sheep roaming just as the sun was setting behind the hills. It felt dreamy and exactly like out of a movie.
We hopped the fence (probably much to the dismay of the farm’s owners) and set off on a picture adventure. Christine in her flowy Free People dress that she bought just for this occasion, Rozzie all dressed up as cute as can be, and Jon accenting his sweet family perfectly. We snapped shots just as the sun went down, and it’s a moment I will remember forever.
We had one more stop along the way when we came across this road, just after the sun had set but before it was too dark to see, covered in clouds and rolling Highlands hills.
It was everything I’d dreamed of and more.
While Rosalyn slept, we hopped back out in the cold to view the beauty surrounding us.
Eventually we made our way to our hotel for the next two nights, the Golf View Hotel & Spa in Nairn. It wasn’t on any of the “Highland Hotel” lists, and Jon found it after randomly googling hotels near the golf course he wanted to play there. We didn’t really know what we were getting into, but as soon as we stepped into the hotel we knew we were in a wondrous place. It was very luxury, which was surprising for the cheaper room prices, had an excellent hotel restaurant and endless views of the water outside every window. With a quick 30 minute drive to Inverness, we were set.
The next morning we wandered around the area of Nairn, enjoying warm drinks at the outdoor coffee shop and the most delicious butternut squash and potato soup from the local café.
After dropping Jon off at the course, the rest of us ventured to find Nessie. Although Matt didn’t get his dream of seeing the Loch Ness monster, it was still a stunning lake and so nice to drive around.
We made a few different stops for pictures and Matt went to the gift shop for souvenirs.
Since returning home, we’ve talked about going back to do some hiking around the lake and really spend more time there as it was just beautiful.
We then went into Inverness. Honestly, I expected it to be a bit more quaint and less city-like, but the highlight of our time there was the Coyote Café with the BEST service, nicest staff, delicious coffee and tasty gluten-free caramel brownies and vegan gluten-free chocolate cake.
We spent the rest of the afternoon warming up in the café before heading back to the hotel for dinner.
Early the next morning, we began our journey home. We talked and laughed the entire drive back, stopping one time for a long lunch in Edinburgh. I loved how slow moving the trip was, it never felt rushed and while we were only there a short time, we really enjoyed each other’s company and whatever we were able to see. I look forward to going back and maybe even venturing further north to some of the islands. I feel like we only got a taste of the beauty the Scottish Highlands has to offer, but the taste we got was magical.
I put together a little video of our trip if you’d like to see more. I hope you enjoyed coming along with us on our fun road trip.
Have you ever been to the Scottish Highlands? If so, where was your favorite spot and why?